Thursday, October 7, 2010

if not now, when?

it's often said that when you see, hear, or otherwise receive similar messages within a reasonably brief time frame, you might benefit from paying attention to the message. so when our substitute yoga teacher shared Rabbi Hillel's well-known quotation with us this morning, I decided I was supposed to pay attention. his quote is this:

"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?"

it is the third segment of this that caught me by surprise, as I had just used the same question last saturday, and it's not a question I typically think of. the situation was this: I was riding my bike up big cottonwood, and I had this urge/desire/death wish to, once I got to the top, keep on riding up guardsman pass until I reached that peak as well. the question just came to me as I was riding---if not now, when?---and I thought there is no better time than now. the saturday before I'd had a similar thing happen: I was riding up little cottonwood, and when I reached alta I had an urge/desire/death wish to ride all the way up to the albion basin campground.
I was describing my saturday ride to john, and told him about my if not now, when? thought.
because it's a pertinent question these days: I am probably at the peak of my cycling fitness for the year, this beautiful fall riding weather won't be with us too much longer, and next spring-summer is a long, long way away. now is the time to take advantage of what will inevitably change.

I tend to have this attitude about many things in life, but often my approach is more along the lines of sigh-and-let's-get-it-over-with. but what I find is that when I do, relief washes over me, I gain certainty and confidence, and I behave better for having done what I did. (I concede that not everything is best handled now, and many things benefit from taking place at better times/places than the immediate now. I am not by any means trying to say that everything should be done at the moment you contemplate it.)

I will leave the good rabbi's first and second statements for another day, and will just remain grateful for the universe's little nudge about if not now, when? and make sure to keep the question forefront in my mind as I approach all aspects of life, not just cycling.

nonetheless, I'll see you at the top of the hill.

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